Editor's column - Being a Michigander
April 04, 2012
Last week I was driving down Orion Road on a sunny Friday morning when my phone rings. It's a friend bemoaning the weather and saying we may have to cancel our plans for outdoor activities later in the evening. Looking up I wonder if we're looking at the same sky, when in the span of 20 seconds the sunshine was replaced with grey and malicious clouds. Seconds later - hail. Hail everywhere.
Welcome to Michigan.
There's plenty to complain about in Michigan; from our weather to our politics, it seems like we're always getting the wrong end of every deal. In 2005, I remember reading that Michigan had a higher unemployment rate than every other state in the Union barring one - Louisiana (hurricane Katrina saw to that.) In 2007 I remember driving down I-75 and watching a beautiful summer day turn to a monsoon that forced drivers off the highway and then proceed into a snowstorm with lightning. Then we have years like this where winter apparently decided to take a year off.
Then there's the government. Kwame Kilpatrick alone could fill a book with the misdeeds his administration performed and on top of it his antics still continue out of state. He's our own personal reality television star. Another piece of corruption we all seem to have accepted, mostly due to sheer exhaustion, is the condition of our roads, which are in a perpetual state of either dirt or construction.
Finally, the City of Detroit has made Michigan the laughing stock of the nation in many ways. People often refer to the city as ruins, derelict and abandoned, and rightly so - the city is a haven for crime the likes of which have not been seen. It is seemingly common knowledge that after nightfall stopping at a red light in Detroit is considered a bad move and one should simply proceed cautiously.
There's so much evidently bad about Michigan that the good is often overlooked. Michigan is one of the most unique states in the nation and has great things for those who look.
Michigan is an outdoorsman's paradise - even in the densely populated Metro Detroit area, one is never more than an hour away from a lush outdoor experience be it hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting or biking and most of this stuff is free or cheap enough to seem free. The weather here changes a lot and seemingly at random, but that makes us unique. Beside hail in summer and golf weather in winter, we get all four seasons unbridled.
The winter (usually) is harsh, cold and snowy but this allows for winter activities and the weirdos to get their brisk walks. The spring is uncompromisingly wet but the beauty of the season shines in the way nature springs to life. The summer is unbelievably hot and humid but these two detriments become qualities when engaging with water.
Finally, the fall, my personal favorite, is dry, cool and gorgeous. The weather presents itself perfectly to camping, fireside get-togethers, or essentially anything. It's simply pleasant weather.
We also have a whole separate country less than 100 miles away. This gives us the advantage of a vacation spot in drop-of-the-hat proximity access to Canadian Beer as if it was domestic and much more.
This is beginning to sound like an ad for Michigan, but before you theorize I might be Tim Allen in disguise, I just love my state. I've had the opportunity to travel far and wide, visiting most of the states and 10 different countries world-wide. There are plenty of places similar to Michigan, but no place that has all of it in one package.
I'll likely move eventually, but I'll represent my state until the day I die. So represent or just resent, remember you're a Michigander (not a Michiganian!).